Lake Forest City Council Policy must be altered


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E-Verify

I attended the city of Lake Forest council meeting last night to observe the council reaction to a proposal from Scott Voigts, their newest member, on following the lead of Mission Viejo and other CA cities to mandate compliance with the E-Verify system by City vendors.

When we reached that area for closing council comments, Member Voigts asked for consensus from his peers to place this item on a future agenda.  Not getting consensus, his suggestion died. Having attended well over 100 city council meetings in cities around our state I was surprised that such a policy exists. In Mission Viejo any council member can contact the City Clerk prior to a future meeting, prepare a brief report explaining the issue, and ask that his or her proposal be added to a future Agenda.

Some of these council suggestions might have been campaign pledges in which they hope to get majority support from their peers. To shut down any council member proposal with the requirement of a consensus is virtually having a vote before the vote. Give the proponent an opportunity to publicly promote his or her Agenda item to the public and have an open recorded vote by your peers. I have witnessed many 1-4 and 2-3 votes over the past two decades. The right to force your peers to hear you out and cast their votes is what open government should include.

At a prior Lake Forest council meeting I heard Mayor Herzog tell the audience that Lake Forest does monitor the city vendors and should one fail to meet the requirements, that contract is terminated. Therefore he feels that E-Verify is unnecessary.

To me the big picture is that any council member elected by a their citizens deserves the right to place items on future agendas. The irony is that Scott Voigts came in first in the November 2010 election. Not being actively involved in his campaign, I cannot say if supporting E-Verify was one of his campaign pledges.

For those not familiar with E-verify here is some background data:

1986:  Ronald Reagan’s The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) required employers to verify that all newly-hired employees present “facially valid” documentation verifying the employee’s identity and his or her legal authorization to accept employment in the United States.  The I-9 form or more properly the Employment Eligibility Verification Form is provided by the federal government for that purpose. Every employee hired after November 6, 1986 must complete an I-9 form at the time of hire.

  • 1996:  Bill Clinton signs Executive Order 12989 That is titled, “Economy and Efficiency in Government Procurement Through Compliance With Certain Immigration and Naturalization Act Provisions”
  • 1997:  Pilot program for E-verify is created and used on a volunteer basis.
  • 2008: George W. Bush Executive Order 13465 which amends EO 12989 – “Economy and Efficiency in Government Procurement Through Compliance with Certain Immigration and Nationality Act Provisions and Use of an Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification System“.  This is in conjunction with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)

Page 3 of the current Mission Viejo Ordinance reads as follows:

Sec. 2.80.030 Application of requirements.

(a) The City shall enroll and participate in the E-verify Program, as amended. The City Manager shall oversee the City’s participation in this program and shall ensure that it is applied to all persons to be hired by the City as City Employees.

(b). As a condition for the award or renewal of any City Contract, Product, Contribution or grant to a Business Entity or Contractor after July 1, 2007, for which the reasonable value of the employment, labor or personal services shall exceed $30,000.00, the Business Entity or Contractor shall provide the City documentation affirming its enrollment and participation in the E-Verify program. The Business Entity or Contractor shall be required to continue its participation in the E-Verify program throughout the course of the business relationship with the City.

(e) The City Manager shall require not less than an annual audit of the contracts the City has entered into that are within the jurisdiction of this Chapter 2.80. In March and September of each calendar year the City Manager shall provide a written report to the City Council detailing the City’s review and enforcement program, including, but not limited to, a summary of the accomplished and proposed performance audits of Contractors and Business Entities, recommendations for further reviews ,if any, and any recommendations for program refinement that the City Manager has identified in the course of applying this Chapter 2.80.”


About Larry Gilbert